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King George VI Chase - 26th December, 2014

Silviniaco Conti produced a sublime staying performance to win the King George VI Chase 12 months ago and the Paul Nicholls-trained star is in terrific form heading to Kempton Park on Boxing Day having landed the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park last month.

He trounced a host of classy rivals in the Betfair Chase and was chased home by the consistent Menorah, but he will be aiming to frank that Grade 1 form over the festive period in what is one of the highlights of the National Hunt calendar, and he is heading the latest betting.

Cue Card was unable to land a significant blow in the Betfair Chase and Colin Tizzard will be hoping that he can recapture his best form, whilst Dynaste was another to underperform in the Betfair Chase and will have to improve immeasurably to be a player.

Willie Mullins is all set to hand Champagne Fever his first tilt at three miles and the dual Cheltenham Festival winner was an easy winner of his first start of the season and if he sees out the trip has to be a primary challenger to the reigning champion.

The aforementioned Menorah always has to be given a second look in these races and he will aim to bag another big prize for Philip Hobbs, whilst the Nicholls team could also saddle impressive Amlin 1965 Chase winner Al Ferof, who is another venturing up to three miles and has stamina doubts.

Of the others, Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Johns Spirit is aiming to propel into the big league and will be a lively outsider, whilst Wishfull Thinking and Wonderful Charm add tremendous depth to a real Christmas cracker from Kempton Park.

Latest Betting for 2014 King George VI Chase

9/4 Silviniaco Conti

3/1 Champagne Fever

11/2 Al Ferof

7/1 Cue Card

8/1 Dynaste

8/1 Menorah

16/1 Johns Spirit

25/1 Wishfull Thinking

50/1 Double Ross

50/1 Wonderful Charm

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King George VI Chase History

The King George VI Chase is the second most prestigious chase of the season in the UK with only the Cheltenham Gold Cup surpassing it, the race is run at Kempton on Boxing Day and it is one that main trainers target right from the outset of the winter. It is run over 3 miles and because of its date in December it is often used by the Gold Cup horses as a last prep for the big race in March. However, the King George can also be used as the main target for a season and a win here really does right their name in the record books and propels a horse into the very top rank of chasers.

The race was first run in February 1937 in honour of King George VI and it was run twice before the war with Southern Hero claiming the first ever race, he was a 12 year-old winner and to date he remains the oldest horse ever to have won the King George VI Chase. At the other end of the scale was Manicou who won the race in 1950 at just five years-old, and punters should take note that he remains the only horse younger than six to win the King George.

The list of winners of the King George Chase reads like a who’s who of National Hunt racing but there are two names on the list that stand out more any others and they are the great Desert Orchid and Kauto Star. The grey Desert Orchid was a hero at Kempton as he won the race a brilliant four times in just five years between 1986 and 1990, the David Elsworth horse was taken to the Nations hearts and his win in 1990 when 11 was one of the great performances. Most believed that the achievements of Desert Orchid would never be equalled, that was until Kauto Star arrived on the scene to surpass the achievements of Dessie with four consecutive wins. The Paul Nicholls horse has owned Kempton since 2006 and by winning in 2009 he became the most successful horse in King George Chase history, the style of his wins at Kempton have been second to none with some top class horses often beaten out of sight by Kauto Star.

One of the reasons the King George has become such an important race on the calendar is its position on Boxing Day each season, it is a tradition for the punters and fans to pack into Kempton each Christmas and the atmosphere on course is second to none. The roar from the crowd when a big favourite jumps the last in the lead is one of the great spectacles in sport and it is a firm fixture on the Christmas sporting calendar.

King George VI Chase Racecard and Runners

The King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day is always one that punters look forward to and the full list of declared runners for the race will be made available at the 48 stage. The Race Card will be comprehensive and include all the form for each of the runners on the card, this will help punters make their all important bet on the biggest race of the season outside of the Gold Cup.

Recent Winners of the King George VI Chase

  • 2000 - First Gold
  • 2001 - Florida Pearl
  • 2002 - Best Mate
  • 2003 - Edredon Blue
  • 2004 - Kicking King
  • 2005 - Kicking King
  • 2006 - Kauto Star
  • 2007 - Kauto Star
  • 2008 - Kauto Star
  • 2009 - Kauto Star
  • 2010 - Long Run
  • 2011 - Kauto Star
  • 2012 - Long Run
  • 2013 - Silviniaco Conti